Tag Archives: design


My friend Hannah has started a great business called lemondrop. Not only do I love the name (god, it’s a good name!) and what it’s all about (connecting people with information about natural therapies and natural therapists) but also I love Han’s drive to get the site up and how it’s looking. 

I’ve missed her so much since she’s moved to Adelaide from Sydney a few years back. She takes no shit, is wickedly funny and has an amazingly curious mind. She was just finishing her diploma in natural therapy when she moved down there, started a massage business, but has now taken her knowledge to a whole new level with this site.  The site for me is also very “Hannah” – no unnecessary crap (I love the absence of all the whizz bang flash nonsense), rather a site that is deeply practical and intuitive.

Congrats Han – the site rocks!


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Pass it on

I’ve been moving house this weekend and it really sucks.  The packing and shifting anyway. The settling in and seeing what happens next is actually quite good though. Pack up your life, and dump it somewhere (even if it’s only down the road from where I was) – I’ve decided it’s nice to feel a little bit unsettled.  

In between emptying boxes, I have been enjoying a glass of wine on the couch reading an old copy of the wonderful Dumbo Feather, Pass it On. This “mook” has the most beautiful, inspiring stories coupled with wonderful design and “lovely feeling paper”.  Thank god it was sitting on top of an early opened box.  I’ve been subscribing now for nearly two years, and it’s the most wonderful read.  I love the excitement of receiving a new copy. It arrives at my work desk in a great big brown paper envelope.  Each issue features four or so lovely main stories with little mini-features scattered like confetti through the pages. And the design – did I mention the design. So beautiful! And the paper – did I mention how it feels in your hand? Everything about this “mook” makes the heart soar.   I cannot recommend this mag enough.

So it’s back to the boxes – to unpack what I wonder is too many books. And search out my snow dome collection. Once they are all out then know it’s home.


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only used by goofballs

If I ever get an email from anyone using comic sans I sense they will be a goofball in real life. If a bloke, they will be the type who wears loony tunes shiny polyester boxers, and maybe a novelty tie.  If a woman they will subscribe to those websites where owners dress their pets in bibs looking miserable…and insist on forwarding it on to you.  Daily.

I was very happy to read here and here that some students of the Royal College of Art have created the antedote to all that visual tom-foolery.  Introducing Serious Sans!  What a smart font.  What nice lines.  What sharp taste.

serious sans

serious sans

 After doing a bit of webbery I have found this group who want to put the “sans in comic sans”.  (I have to say I love anything with a ‘sans’ gag – ever since I learnt about the quite serious political group sans-cullotesMen without breeches…haw haw haw.)  Ban Comic Sans says comic sans is only appropraite in a few rare occasions. ie – NOT YOUR EMAIL FONT

So PLEASE remove it as your email font. It’s not funny. It’s goofy and stupid. You come across as an idiot.  With no taste.


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Can design save the earth?

I have been working on several projects lately that relate to packaging design and comms testing. Some of these projects have been very good gigs as they have taken me overseas.  And I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been so heavily involved in the world of information hierarchies and brand devices that I’ve had little time to come up for air, but I am convinced that design can save the earth (or at least a bottom line) in more ways than I ever imagined.

When I was a young player in this job, we were always taught the biggest and best jobs were the ones you got to “set the strategy” – you know, hang out with the CEO and marketing director and be a “trusted advisor” blah blah blah…

But the jobs I’ve found most rewarding over the past little while are not so much the strategy stuff but the execution stuff.  The business end of a workstream. Making sure all that “strategy” is actually being brought to life.  And while I find myself tearing my hair out about the ad finitum approach that some clients have to testing designs or creative (question: it won’t hurt to chuck in another 58 designs will it?…answer: errr, yes it will hurt) if you come at it with a really objective methodology then it can be incredibly illuminating.  Removing the whole beauty parade approach to testing anything creative is the key. Getting beyond “do you like it”  and taking it to the level of “who does this feel like it’s for”, or “what does it tell you about when to use this” is where the magic flows.  A few projects have freaked us out about how much design speaks to people and can lead them right to you, or steer them far away. 

We just finished a whirlwind project where we had 23 pieces of stimulus to evaluate overnight for a big decision that needs to be made today.  I was really concerned we’d get it down to five or six options, when we really needed to come up with the one. Seven groups later we have it – and our respondents were able to clearly tell us why we needed to ditch the other 22 and go with that one.  The answer wasn’t the prettiest, it wasn’t the most obvious either – but it was the one that answered the questions we set them, which were dictated by the strategy.  I get a strange kick out of isolating the separate impact of the thing that is doing the communicating (label, creative etc), with how and what the thing is communicating about the brand.  Some people stop at the thing. And the old Hall and Partners PSI framework works every time (persuasion, salience, involvement) at giving a truly objective view of things – cuts out all the designer or creative director tantrums. Just a cool framework to tell them what’s being taken out, at what level, and where the gaps are.

So when Baxterd pointed me towards this and this it seemed very fortuitous. I am a pretentious fuck who believes design does make a difference (and in more ways than I ever really thought…)

And don’t get me started how research kills good ideas.  You may think your idea is the coolest around town, but to quote matt moore “does your idea sell more chicken?”

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